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Autism Acceptance: Meet Dan Lance, our Autistic Content Developer

Richard Margolin Apr 20, 2022 7:15:00 AM

What does Autism Acceptance mean to you? At RoboKind, it means accomodating differences and celebrating neurodiversity.

Acceptance means walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

RoboKind currently has two autistic individuals on staff. A majority of our employees have either been impacted by autism directly or have an autistic family member. 

Personal and professional passions collide when employees get the opportunity to do work that is close to their hearts and support a mission they care deeply about. 

Meet our Autistic Team Members

Dan Lance, a content developer at RoboKind helping out the curriculum and development teams since 2015. Dan is kind and caring by nature. His memory is a steel trap, and his organizational skills help the teams stay on track. 

He's admittedly a private person but wanted to share his experience to do his part in spreading autism acceptance from his unique perspective. 

Here is his story. 

Q: How did you end up working for RoboKind? What lead you to this company?

Dan: I was having trouble finding a job. I could get interviews, but I would do terribly in them and never hear back. On the occasions when I decided to disclose my disability, the interviews would often end abruptly or the whole vibe of the interview would change.

Honestly, I applied to RoboKind on a whim. I saw the position listed on a job site and applied as I was heading out the door for dinner.

I wasn’t expecting much, but as I went through the interview process, it was refreshing that my unique perspective was seen as a positive instead of a detriment.

Q: What sort of accommodations help make your job easier?

Dan: Being able to work remotely, even before the pandemic, has been amazing. The ability to work in a comfortable, stress-free environment where I can actually focus is helpful. Working remote has the bonus effect of forcing information or tasks to be in writing, which is helpful as I struggle with audio processing issues. Being able to keep my video off during conference calls is another stress-reducer, and the team is very understanding.

Q: Why RoboKind? What about our company keeps you coming back?

Dan: I'm excited about what we do and always look forward to helping others with social-emotional learning.

Q: What is your advice to employers when considering neurodiverse candidates?

Dan: Don't be afraid of giving employees accommodations. At the start of the pandemic, you remember companies started shifting into remote work environments as a safety precaution. People within disability communities started calling out employers for easily switching to a working model that, before the pandemic, was seen as an "unreasonable accommodation".

What was once an accommodation that 'would cause an unreasonable burden on the company' quickly became standard policy overnight. The current state of employment has opened people's eyes to what is available, and what they should expect from accommodations. Companies that are unwilling or afraid to accommodate employees' needs will miss out on an excellent pool of talent.

Q: In your opinion, what is the #1 misconception about neurodiversity in the workplace?

Dan: That neurodiverse people are a monolith, especially when it comes to autism. I've seen several instances of companies that hire autistic individuals to fill IT positions, or turn the Quality Assurance (QA) Department into an "autism department." Autistic people in the workplace cover a wide range of disciplines and careers. 

Don't let your pre-conditioned ideas of neurodiversity and autism hinder your future. The world is changing for the better, and I'm happy to be part of a team where I feel accepted, challenged, and supported for being me. 

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